March 5, 2020 / 11:04 PM / a month ago

Fed's Kaplan: New infections key factor for rate decision

March 5 (Reuters) - Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said on Thursday he will be looking closely at how far and fast the new coronavirus spreads in the United States as he weighs a decision on interest rates at the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting later this month.

The number of new diagnoses of COVIC19 will, he said, be “a key factor at least I’ll be using to judge ... whether we should do more” monetary policy easing at the Fed’s March 17-18 meeting.

In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Kaplan said he supported the Fed’s half-percentage point rate cut earlier this week in order to mitigate and moderate tightening financial conditions in the weeks ahead, not to address current stock market weakness. (Writing by Ann Saphir in Chicago Editing by Leslie Adler)

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